Code 93


The Code 93 (VBCD: Code 93) was developed by Intermec in 1982, is a continuous code and shows a modular symbology (multi-breadth code). The Code 93 has a higher Information Density than Code 39.

The Character Set of Code 93 is identical with the character set of Code 39. In comparison with Code 39 there are four additional control characters, enabling the display of the full ASCII-character set by combining it with one of the 26 letters (= Code 93 extended).

Symbol Example

Example of a Code 93 symbol with eight functional digits (12345678) and one check digit:

Code 93 symbol

Symbol Designations

The Code 93 is sometimes also called

  • USD-7.

The two digits 9 and 3 state that each Barcode Character consists of 9 Elements, each with 3 Bars and 3 spaces.

Areas of Application & Branches of Trade

Similar to Code 39 in case of applications that require a higher level of security and/or a higher information density. Because of the 2 compulsory check digits, Code 93 is much safer than Code 39, which can also be printed without that check digit. Code 93 has a higher Information Density. Example:

  • Code 39 with check digit; width of the thinnest bar: 0.254 Mm.

Code 39 with check digit

  • Code 93 with 2 check digits; width of the thinnest bar: 0.254 Mm.

Code 39 with 2 check digits


Advantages / Potencies

Disadvantages / Shortcomings

Codeable Character Set

  • 36 alphanumerical characters: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
    0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
  • 7 special characters: - . Space $ / + %
  • 4 control characters ($) (%) (/) (+)
  • 1start/stop-character is automatically generated by the "Visual Bar Code Designer".
  • 1 margin bar: immediately following the stop-character the barcode symbol is closed with a margin bar (= narrow bar).

Symbol Properties

  • Code type: continuous (a symbology without any intercharacter gaps, where all spaces contain information, and where the last element of a character consequently borders directly onto the first element of the following symbol character, thus rendering all elements continuous data media).
  • Elements per symbol character: 9, displayed in 3 bars and 3 spaces.
  • Self-checking characters: characters: no
  • Symbol Width: variable (the amount of data characters within the symbol can, depending on existing agreements, be variable or variable up to a defined maximum).
  • Ratio (ratio of the four element widths): The ratio of the four element widths among themselves should be 4 : 3 : 2 : 1.
  • Bi-directionally readable: yes (the barcode symbol can be read in two directions, i.e. forwards or backwards).
  • Check Character: two check characters are obligatory (by using a check character – symbol check digit – substitution errors can nearly all be detected).
  • Character Density: 9 modules per symbol character.
  • Necessary characters containing no functional information: 19 modules.

Check Digits & Data Security

For Code 93 two Check Characters (symbol check digits) are mandatory and automatically generated by the "Visual Bar Code Designer" according to Modulo 47.

Symbol Description

Starting on the left, a symbol consists of:

  • One leading Quiet Zone
  • one Start-/Stopp-character
  • one or more Symbol Characters, (functional character)
  • Two check digits (symbol check characters), that are automatically generated by the "Visual Bar Code Designer".
  • One bordering bar (= narrow bar)
  • One closing quiet zone
  • Human Readable Text
    A human readable translation of the data characters encoded in the symbol (and possibly the check digits) should usually be printed along with the symbol.
    The size of the characters and the font type are not specified. As long as the quiet zones are not touched, the human readable text can be printed at any given spot near the symbol. Usually, the human readable text is situated below the symbol.